The flat filing fee for filing a same sex divorce in Santa Barbara County Family Law Court is currently $435.00. The court fees are increased from time to time, so you can always see the most up to date divorce filing fee on the Santa Barbara County Courts fee schedule here. If you are considered low income or receiving some governmental assistance, a fee waiver can be applied to your filing, which would make the cost to file the same sex divorce in Santa Barbara free. More about the fee waiver below.
The filing fee for a same sex divorce in Santa Barbara County is actually a blanket fee known as a “First Appearance Fee” that applies to almost every case filed in the County Courts. This fee is consistent across all 58 County courts in California, with the exception of Riverside and San Francisco County who currently have their divorce filing fee at $450.00. The fee isn’t for same sex divorce, but just family law in general, meaning same fee is required for divorce, legal separation, annulments and custody and or paternity cases.
Court fees are due when your case is opened in Santa Barbara County family law court, actually just a few seconds before. The court will not enter your case into their system without the filing fee. The exception to this is the fee waiver. If you request a fee waiver, the court will open your case and provide copies of filed documents on the spot. Sometimes your fee waiver can be reviewed by the clerk and approved when filing, but sometimes it needs a further review and you will receive decision on it at a later date.
If the court denies your request to have your divorce filing fees waived, you will have to immediately pay or they can dismiss your case. You will however have the option to request a court hearing and ask the Judge to either reconsider, or even ask for a payment plan. If you want to ask the court to waive your fee in your same sex divorce filing, you can use FW-001 and make sure to complete and provide FW-003 for the court to use to make their decision.
Depending on your case, uncontested, contested or default, the external cost may differ widely. Simple uncontested divorces can be handled by Legal Document Assistants (paralegals) with flat fees and ease of completion. More complex cases may require a family law attorney to get your through the process. For some issues like same sex marriage specific issues, a divorce attorney who handles same sex divorce more often may be a good fit and if a domestic partnership was established before the marriage, divorce & domestic partnership attorneys have special understanding of how to help.
Regardless of the type of family law case you are researching or how you think it will turn out, research and information is the best starting point. Rather than starting with consultations all over town and meetings that are more like sales pitches than information gathering, educate yourself first. While you would expect legal professionals to all be honest, knowledgeable and experienced, that’s not always the case. By understanding the procedure and general court guidelines you will be able to find a legal professional who best matched your specific situation. For a complete overview of same sex divorce filings in Santa Barbara County, view this article here.